In the early days of social media, many marketers jumped on the bandwagon to check it out. Everyone was trying to figure out how the latest shiny objects – mainly Facebook and Twitter – could be incorporated into their marketing efforts. Many companies set up Facebook pages and Twitter profiles without creating solid objectives, eventually leading to abandoned profiles and virtual social “ghost towns.”
Social has now evolved from performing marketing functions and talking to customers, to helping and educating customers, and more. I’ve seen many mistakes marketers have made over the past 5 years (including the many I’ve made); but for each mistake made, a new lesson was learned. (I’d like to think that marketers and business owners now believe that social media is not a job for the intern; nor is it another one-way marketing channel to blast out advertising messages.) We have since learned that a social strategy always involves objectives.
We’ve come a long way, from a job that was once relegated to someone with a marketing degree and good writing skills, to a more holistic approach that encompasses many skill levels and multiple employees. With the multiple roles social has taken on, the social media manager should no longer be kept in the silo. In fact, social should have never been placed in the silo to begin with. Social should work in tandem with every department in your organization that deals with customers.
Social media’s roles in your organization
Social media can be used to get your marketing message out in a creative way that doesn’t annoy consumers. It can serve to educate consumers, and used to share expertise on how your product/service can improve customers’ lives or solve their problems. Communicating with current and prospective customers will always be social’s primary role.
Social can help extend your company’s PR efforts. The social networks can be another platform in which to spread your message. The viral nature of social media makes it easy for your PR department to share company news with reporters, journalists, bloggers, and other influencers through the social networks.
Where is your target audience hanging out? The sales process starts by creating and building relationships with prospective customers. If your company has a dedicated sales staff, they should be engaged in every social network where their prospects are located. The social media manager can support a company’s sales efforts, but it’s the salespeople who need to use the social tools to cultivate those relationships.
Consumers are tired of navigating complicated phone systems just to reach a live person. Many have taken to the social networks to get their questions answered and their problems solved. Your customers don’t want to wait a day – or even an hour for a response. Social media has made it easy to quickly respond to customers’ concerns. If your customers are tweeting at you, they want an immediate response.
Tying it all together
Social needs to be woven into the fabric of your company. Social media and marketing are interconnected and can ultimately work together to execute the company’s overall marketing strategy. Other key employees can help in the company’s social efforts if they are properly trained on the tools. The success of your social efforts depends greatly on regular communications between departments.
The bottom line – Your employees are all marketers of your business. Everyone working together can make an impact on your company’s overall marketing efforts.
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